Saturday, September 22, 2018

In my mind



Jon Bryant's Carolina is stuck to my head. It's a song full of longing, distance, and detachment, and it's sobering. Days find me wishing I were somewhere else—at home, for example—but reality finds me back and clutches me with the reassurance that I am where I should be. Travel breaks the monotony of daily life, but so does music and books.

In my mind, I'm going to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
And ain't it just like a friend of mine hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm going to Carolina in my mind

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Steroids decrease efficacy of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors in NSCLC

Dr. Matthew Stenger, via The ASCO Post:

In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Arbour et al found that baseline treatment with corticosteroids was associated with poorer efficacy of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) or programmed death cell ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitors in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Furthermore,

The investigators concluded, “Baseline corticosteroid use of ≥ 10 mg of prednisone equivalent was associated with poorer outcome in patients with non–small cell lung cancer who were treated with [PD-1/PD-L1] blockade.”

Baseline corticosteroids were associated with decreased overall response rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival with PD-(L)1 blockade.

What's the clinical impact for oncologists? Must we then avoid corticosteroids entirely? The authors recommend its "prudent" use.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Visiting Nella Sarabia's new optical shop at Acacia Dorm, UP Diliman

Composed September 3, 2018, but I've just only realized it was saved in drafts and not posted publicly. 

My commute to UP Diliman was brief. I took the bus, hailed a UP-Philcoa jeepney, and alighted at what used to be the UP Shopping Center, home to my favorite karinderya and optical shop, a block away from Yakal dorm where I used to live. The karinderya did not survive the fire, but the optical shop did. The new location was right across the street—the new dorm complex, Acacia, at the back of Kalayaan. Gone are the days when I bumped into familiar faces—classmates, groupmates, dormmates, labmates, my tsinelas-and-shorts UP community—busy with the same things as I was. An essay that needed printing, a provincial urge to munch on the acidity of a green mango, half-cut in the middle, dabbed with rock salt and chili.

The area at 2 pm was foreign and familiar. I savored all these, what used to be my every day walk, the treelined streets and the educated banter in the background.

Dr. Nella Sarabi, having emerged from lunch break, greeted me with smiles and a compliment. “Those are nice frames—are those from the shop?” she asked, to which I answered, “Of course.” Going to her shop reminds me of time that had passed since she had introduced me to the world of eyeglasses when I was in second year college. She asked about me and my brother; she remembered our names, picking them from her mental cloud of customers, her smile widening as she learned about the things I do. Cancer. Rounds. PGH.

I visited her to have sunglasses made. I made a shortlist, eventually zeroed in on the metal, bronze frames. Dr. Sarabia approved. I went through the ritual of having my eyes checked. “Read line seven,” she said. I knew the answer, even with eyes closed—D-E-F-P-O-T-E-C.
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